I have to conquer it in my mind first. If I can defeat it in my mind, then I can beat it in my life. Today I want to give you a little glimpse into my mindset and how I work through things.
What will it take to make you change? Are you willing to pay the price? These are questions I often ask myself.
When I smoked, I knew that trouble was on the way. I could feel it in my body. I noticed how much I coughed and how tight my chest felt. I had a headache every day, and smoking completely controlled me.
So I went there. I imagined the worst-case scenario. I saw myself lying in the hospital bed, struggling to breathe, and saying goodbye to my loved ones. I imagined all the parts of my kid’s life I would miss, and then I recognized it would all be my fault.
That image allowed me to quit smoking and never pick them back up again because I changed how I felt about them. Instead of seeing the pleasure, I saw the destruction. Now you could put me in a room with many cigarettes, but it would not tempt me to smoke. Why? Because I am not a smoker.
It’s the same with my diet. I see ultra-processed foods loaded with chemicals and sugar as poison. I know that our daily choices compound over time. Therefore, I am conscious of what I consume. Occasionally I eat something that is not the best for me, but I try not to do it often.
One cigarette or processed food is not going to cause damage to our bodies. But if we do those things daily, eventually, it will. I woke up one day and could barely walk. I didn’t have a warning. It just happened. And it took me years of extreme pain and suffering to heal.
When we are in extreme pain, drugs beckon us. My doctor told me he would keep me comfortable with pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for nerve damage. All of the prescribed medication was narcotics. I remember how wonderful it was the first time I swallowed a pill that took my pain away. It was so great that I couldn’t wait to take another one. I had energy and no pain. Sometimes I think about the other way my life could have gone. I could have become addicted. Thankfully, the Lord intervened. I had an allergic reaction to every pill they put me on. When one landed me in the emergency room with a severe reaction, I knew I had to find another way.
For so many years, I treated my body horribly. I didn’t do one thing to help myself. It’s truly an awful feeling to be in extreme pain, with no way out, and know that you put yourself there.
But it took me some time to see that I had caused my pain. I blamed it on other things. When I was willing to face the truth, however, I noticed that my sins had put me there. Anytime we do something we feel wrong about later, I believe it is a sin.
All the little things add up—worries, wrong choices, harsh words, actions that harm our bodies, etc. We can pretend it is okay for us to continue doing them. But in our hearts, we know that it is not honoring God.
One of my bravest things was asking God to show me what I was doing wrong. It hurts, and it’s hard to see. But in doing so, I overcame many things causing my pain.
I quit smoking, changed my diet, started exercising, healed relationships, forgave others and myself, and learned to follow the Lord. I knew it’s hard to have a beautiful life if we follow the ruler of darkness. None of us truly know how to live a good life. But if we learn to follow the Lord in all things, He will show us how to live inspired by Him.
While we still might have pain, sweet friends. I would rather suffer for doing good than for making bad choices. And if we suffer for God, He can show us how to rejoice in it and overcome it. God can turn our heartaches into blessings.
Have a beautiful day!